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It hasn't taken Ty Bothwell long to experience the business end of college sports.

Still basking in the afterglow of Boone Grove's Class 2A state baseball championship, the Indiana University freshman is already a player without a head coach after Chris Lemonis left Monday to accept the same position at Mississippi State.

"It stinks," Bothwell said Tuesday from his campus dorm. "It's my second week of college. I had no clue. I don't really know a whole lot. We found out through Twitter. It was pretty much chaos on the floor. Most of the guys there were recruited by (Lemonis). In the heat of the moment, you kind of feel abandoned."

Boone Grove won state June 16 and Bothwell was home that night packing his bags to leave the next morning for IU, where he is taking two classes to get a jump on school before the fall semester.

"I had no time," he said. "I knew for months. We just thought (my classes were) going to be right after the Fourth of July."

Lemonis, who took Indiana to four NCAA tournaments in his four years in Bloomington, met with Bothwell and the other freshman last Friday, and there was no indication of any impending change at that point.

"He had us all stop by to talk, to see how we were doing," Bothwell said. "If he knew then, there was no way of telling, he wasn't giving any hints. He told us we'd get together some time (this week) and have lunch. I was like, 'All right, sounds good.' Now he's gone. Crazy things happen."

One reassuring thing for Bothwell at this point is that pitching coach Kyle Bunn, his primary recruiter, is still there and is serving as the interim coach during the national search for a replacement. Bunn couldn't be reached for comment.

"He's telling us it's going to be all right, that they're taking care of it," Bothwell said. "There's a lot of talk about what might happen, some really good, some really bad. You just hope for the best. We're all fine now. We're just eager to see who they get to fill the position."

The coaching change adds another element to the nervous process of being a newbie for Bothwell. A slender 160 pounds a few weeks ago, he's acclimating to college strength and conditioning. already bulking up to 165..

"I feel so pathetic in the weight room compared to my teammates," he said. "We lifted and did Driveline (at Boone), but it's way more advanced (here) than I thought. If it's going to make me better, fine. That's what I signed up for. I'm never going to complain. Actually, I like it for the most part. We've been running and I've yet to puke."

A top-of-the-rotation guy for three years at Boone, Bothwell is back to being a little fish in a big pond, like he was as a high school freshman. Nothing's been guaranteed, even less so with the coaching change, and that's OK.

"Nothing's been said to any of us," he said. "I have no idea. All I know is one of the guys is no longer a pitcher. He's an outfielder now."

Bothwell brought his left-handed catcher's glove with him, just in case. Beyond his obvious talent, it's that sense of humor and infectious free spirit that Boone coach Pat Antone is going to miss.

"He continued to grow as a player, as a competitor and as a person throughout the season," Antone said. "He's a very funny, quirky guy, always making the guys laugh, the coaches laugh. Sometimes it was on purpose, sometimes it wasn't. He just shrugs, I don't know. We were very lucky to have him. He's going to be happy in Bloomington."


This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

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Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.